Red Wine Braised Red Cabbage with Apples, Carrots and Beets

September 26, 2011
3 Ratings
  • Serves 8 with leftovers
Author Notes

One of our favorite autumn side dishes is this variation on the French classic of red cabbage braised in red wine and red wine vinegar. I add carrots and beets, as well as some tart apple. I used to put a pinch of ground cloves in this, but then I saw in Marcus Samuelsson’s cookbook, “Aquavit: And the New Scandinavian Cuisine,” that he uses garam masala, as well as cinnamon and fresh ginger, in his braised red cabbage. To my mind, however, the garam masala alone adds just the right touch of spice. I do like Samuelsson’s addition of maple syrup toward the end of the cooking time, though with the beets and carrots, I use much less. The dish is started on the stove, then moved to the oven where the vegetables are braised, covered for an hour, and then allowed to roast, uncovered, for about another hour. Like so many braises, this improves with a day or so of resting. I hope you enjoy this. ;o) - AntoniaJames —AntoniaJames

Test Kitchen Notes

This is a great fall vegetable recipe that I highly recommend everyone have in their files. The amount of garam masala is perfect -- enough to give a bit of spice, but not enough to be overwhelming. Just like AntoniaJames says, this was delicious on the day it was made, and even better the second and third days as it became a bit sweeter. The colors are beautiful as well. This is bound to be my go-to red cabbage recipe from now on. - VanessaS —VanessaS

What You'll Need
  • ½ pound small or medium red beets
  • 2 ounces pancetta, cut into small dice
  • 1 small head of red cabbage (about 1 ½ pounds), quartered, cored and finely sliced
  • 1 large or 2 small yellow onions, thinly sliced
  • Salt
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 2 tart apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into thick julienne, about 1 ½ inch long
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 heaping tablespoon dark brown sugar
  • ¾ cup dry red wine
  • ½ cup really nice red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • More salt, and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Remove tops, wash and wrap beets in foil. Cut larger ones in half, if necessary, so the size of the pieces is consistent. Place in a small baking dish and roast in the oven for about 30 – 40 minutes, or until just barely tender. (Test them with a sharp knife, being very careful as you open the foil, as it will release hot steam that could burn you, badly.)
  2. In a wide, oven-proof braising dish, cook the pancetta over medium heat for about ten minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add the onions and cabbage and toss them with the fat rendered from the pancetta, with a hefty pinch of salt. Cook over medium-high heat for a few minutes, stirring all the while, just until the cabbage starts to wilt.
  4. Add all of the other ingredients except the maple syrup, beets, salt and pepper. Stir well. Put in the oven, covered.
  5. When the beets are just tender, and cool enough to handle, slip off their skins and quarter them. Then slice each quarter into three or four pieces, crosswise. Add to the braising pan and stir to incorporate.
  6. Cover the pot and return it to the oven for about an hour, all told, from when you first put it in.
  7. Remove the lid, stir it well, and return it to the oven, uncovered. Cook for another 30 minutes, giving it a good stir after fifteen minutes.
  8. Add the maple syrup and stir again. Cook for another 20 to 30 minutes. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste.
  9. This tastes better after it’s had a chance to sit for at least a few hours, but preferably a day or two.
  10. I hope you like this. Your devoted friend, AntoniaJames ;o)
  11. N.B.: To make this vegetarian, simply replace the pancetta with about 3 tablespoons of good butter, which you’d melt and use for sweating the onions at the outset, before adding the cabbage. ;o)

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Bevi
  • AntoniaJames
  • gingerroot
  • EmilyC
  • wssmom

Recipe by: AntoniaJames

See problem, solve problem. Ask questions; question answers. Disrupt, with kindness, courtesy and respect. ;o)

27 Reviews

Bevi November 16, 2017
Hi AJ. Can I make ahead and freeze? Alternatively, how many days ahead can I make this?
AntoniaJames November 16, 2017
Bevi, I wouldn't freeze it. I'd make it ahead at most 2 days, and preferably the day before; cabbagey things just don't hold up that well in my experience. Also, brighten it up with more red wine vinegar, and be sure to check the salt, before serving. (But you knew that . . . ) ;o)
Bevi November 18, 2016
To make this vegan would you recommend olive oil or something with less flavor ?
AntoniaJames November 18, 2016
I'd probably use olive oil because a little more flavor, to the extent the olive oil will give it to you, would be better here. I'd also season gently with soy sauce or tamari, mixing it with the maple syrup before adding. ;o)
modenadreaming November 24, 2015
I made this recipe for a dinner party recently. One of my guests put just three strains of red cabbage on his plate telling me he did not like RED cabbage. To my delight, after tasting his strands, he went back twice for two big helpings and asked for the recipe. It's a fabulous recipe and you can and definitely should make it a few days ahead. Thank you.
AntoniaJames November 24, 2015
modenadreaming, thank you so much for letting me know. I always enjoy hearing when staunch "won't touch that" eaters discover that they like something - and then go back for seconds! I appreciate your kind words, too. ;o)
Bevi November 20, 2016
Thanks AJ!
ichabod December 15, 2013
I made this last night and enjoyed it. I left out the beets, as I've never met one that I liked. I tasted it again today, and cannot decide if there is a tad too much vinegar for my taste. I will make it again.
Bevi November 25, 2012
i made this again for Thanksgiving and made my own garam masala, which I think is integral to the recipe. Delicious and lovely to look at.
AntoniaJames November 17, 2011
I made another batch of this, using my crockpot this time, as I was going to be out and about, and don't like to leave any flames on when I'm not near the kitchen. It turned out beautifully. I used two tablespoons of molasses instead of the brown sugar (increasing the sweetener because my wine is a bit dry today, and I didn't add carrots or beets). I also added the zest of an orange, because with the holidays upon us, well, it seemed like a good thing to do. Just FYI. ;o)
Bevi November 18, 2011
I am making this Monday night, to serve on Thursday. Your prune clafouti is also getting a spot, so I am working on the prunes today for a good soak. Also, there is another dish that you make, but for the life of me I can't remember what it is. Why don't I write these things down??
Bevi November 21, 2011
This dish is done for The Bird - and it's delicious. The roasting is what really releases flavor. Also The Smoking Bishop relish is happily percolating in the fridge. Your clafoutis gets made on Wednesday. Thanks for the wonderful additions to our feast!
AntoniaJames November 21, 2011
I am honored beyond words that you are taking three of my recipes to your Thanksgiving celebration. ;o)
Bevi October 13, 2011
A few days ago I made this to go with lamb chops. It is so delicious. The amount of garam masala is perfect. The maple syrup finishes off the dish perfectly. And since I eat dishes like this for breakfast, lunch and dinner, I have been perfectly happy! I have set aside a small amount for soup tomorrow, as Antonia did. We plan to use this red cabbage recipe for our Thanksgiving, for sure. And it certainly does improve with age!
AntoniaJames October 18, 2011
Thank you so much, Bevi!! I'm so glad you like this. Do try making some soup with it (add equal parts of the dish and good chicken stock; heat and stir in sour cream or Greek yogurt to taste). You'll love it. ;o)
Bevi November 18, 2011
I did make soup, and it was delicious! I used my own stock, and added a bit of Greek yogurt. Pretty color, too.!
Bevi October 7, 2011
I am going to try this over the weekend. We always have a red cabbage recipe on the Thanksgiving table that I make in Vermont and carry to CT. This would be perfect for traveling and percolating a few days, and the flavors sound wonderful.
AntoniaJames October 8, 2011
Thanks, Bevi. Please let me know what you think. I really like this stuff much better after it's sat for three or four hours, or the next day, or longer. It holds well in the fridge. Today I heated some up with a cup or so of rich homemade chicken broth (rich, as in concentrated, as I make my own stock and reduce it so I can freeze in pint or 8 ounce mason jars) to make a thick veggie soup. Once hot, I stirred in about a teaspoon of sour cream. With a few leftover sauteed apple slices and a small chunk of Gruyere, it was the perfect lunch! I'll probably post a recipe in the "Soup" category. ;o)
Bevi October 8, 2011
I was wondering what you thought of turning this into a soup-so funny you brought this up. I'll make my first stock of the season tomorrow from leftovers of the first roast chicken of the autumn. So I'll try this and then make soup. The flavors remind me of a great soup made at Veselka, a 24 -hour Polish resto in the East Village. They also add meat to their soup. This Thanksgiving may very well be a food52 showcase. You are trailblazing. As usual I might add!
AntoniaJames September 30, 2011
Thanks so much! It's good for three or four days, at least. I've never had any around any longer than that. It's great at room temperature, too, which is also convenient. ;o)
gingerroot September 30, 2011
This sounds really amazing, AJ. I look forward to making it.
AntoniaJames September 30, 2011
Thank you, gingerroot. I hope you do try it! ;o)
EmilyC September 27, 2011
Love this! Braised red cabbage is one of my favorite autumn dishes...I often add bacon, tart apple, and maple syrup/vinegar to mine. I like the additions of carrots, red wine, and the garam masala...something I would have never thought to try! Saved!
AntoniaJames September 30, 2011
Thanks, EmilyC. You need less sweetener with the carrots (and also, if your onions tend toward sweet), though the maple syrup gives it a certain smoothness that I really like. ;o)
wssmom September 27, 2011
Spectacular!! This would be beautiful on a holiday table, and the flavors sound amazing, especially the red wine vinegar with the maple syrup!
AntoniaJames September 30, 2011
Oh, you are much too kind, wssmom! But I do agree the brilliant hue would brighten any table. ;o)
aargersi September 27, 2011
Love this, the veggies, the spices, everything - and what good news that it is better in a day or two - make in advance is a good thing! Adding it to the "try when it cools off" list!!